Here's the Epilogue to the story at last! *beams* Next up will be the sequel... expect part one in about 1-2 weeks. Or maybe in less time!
Draco let out a sigh that he hadn't know he was holding, and cautiously climbed into bed, keeping a tight hold on the old rune stone he was holding. He had been clutching it all night already, and was surprised that it wasn't embedded deep into his palm by now. The rune looked exactly the same as Harry's did, and nearly glowed with old magic.
He hadn't lied when he said there were protection spells on it- he had cast every protection spell he knew on that rune, from what he had learned in school to the Dark Arts that he had subtly picked up from his father.
His father had been the one to send the runes, saying that if he didn't want a friend to leave, then give them the stone and there was an incantation to draw one person to the other- whichever way they wanted to go. A smaller spell that was included was to alert the other if one was in extreme danger.
But he seriously hoped that it would never be needed.
He knew that Harry would be happy back home, with the one he loved and others who cared about him. He knew that Harry would be well protected there, because he knew himself well enough to know that no harm could ever come to Harry if he were there to stop it.
It was so strange to think in that perspective. That there was another him somewhere… in an alternate universe- and that other him was the person whom Harry loved more than anyone else in the world.
It was hard to describe the range of feelings he experienced with that thought. Sadness, surely, because Harry wouldn't be his, but also a sort of wonder at how the other boy had chosen him… even though it wasn't him.
None of that was making any sense, Draco thought to himself. The whole alternate universe idea was too mind boggling to think about.
And, he thought with a mental sigh, it meant that he now had to take care of Carnus.
It was all Harry's fault when it came down to that. The dark haired boy had asked him during the Yule Ball to take care of his snake... because Carnus was fond of Draco.
Why, oh why did he tell Harry that he liked snakes when they first met? The huge red and gold snake made him more than a little queasy, and was much too... affectionate for his tastes.
Dismissing the thought, he just reminded himself to get the large snake from Harry's parents the next day. He wanted sleep before the sun decided to come up again, and a good night's rest seemed the best way to accomplish that.
The blonde boy didn't bother to open his eyes as he gave a grunt in response. Blaise wasn't going to get any sleep anytime soon, he knew. And with Vincent and Greg sleeping like logs in the beds next to them, the only entertainment Blaise would get would be from Draco.
"Do you think Harry made it home alright?"
Draco had his eyes closed as he replied, "I'm sure he did."
"…Did you like Harry?"
"We all liked Harry, Blaise. None of us wanted him to leave."
There was a short silence. "That's not what I meant. Did you fancy him?"
Draco managed an exasperated sigh. "Go to sleep, Blaise."
There was another short pause. "Everyone knew that I fancied Harry… but I think he liked you. And that would have been okay… I would have been okay with it, just because I know that you're my best friend and if you do something to hurt him, I could get back at you, and if he did something to hurt you, I could get back at him."
"I think he should have stayed. Who knew if the person Harry loved back in his own world is good enough for him?"
Draco only burrowed deeper into his blankets. "If he makes Harry happy, that's good enough."
"So you do fancy him!"
"Go to sleep, Blaise."
It was quiet for a few minutes before there was a soft sigh and a whisper.
"I miss him."
Draco finally opened his eyes, staring out into the night. He stayed that way long after Blaise fell asleep.
He couldn't understand why every time he traveled between universes, the first thing he noticed was the fact that he had been unconscious for a while. How did he know that? Well… he was just waking up, after all. And his brain was functioning much too early, considering his thought process was more complete in this state of mind than it was when he was awake. Or that was what he thought at the moment.
Not to mention, he could hear a soft murmuring at his side, and someone shifting uncomfortably. It sounded like the person was waiting for him to wake up, perhaps been worried about him.
Was this it? His mind wondered. Did he get back home?
He frowned slightly, giving the idea some consideration. His elemental abilities seemed to have worked… and the air was much more stale than he had remembered. Did this mean that he was back in the war-torn world that he called home? Where Hogwarts was gone, and hope was pretty much nonexistent?
Did it mean that he was home with…
"Harry." The voice sounded so relieved when Harry frowned, signifying that perhaps he was close to waking up.
Harry opened his eyes, unable to resist the call in that voice. His visage was blurry before a pair was glasses were gently settled onto his face, the prescription off by just a bit. He squinted slightly in the bright light before he realized that he was actually pretty dark, and the only light his eyes were fighting against was the dim candle by his bedside.
He was in a small room with perhaps one door and one window. The curtains were drawn over the window, but he could still clearly make out the bright shape of the moon behind it. The room was pretty much bare except for his bed and a chair… and someone who was sitting on the chair, holding a small candle.
Someone looking at his anxiously with worried grey eyes and a pallid complexion.
"Draco…" his mouth involuntarily whispered, his hand coming up to feel if the image before him was not a dream, a hallucination caused by his wistful mind.
The person before him visibly softened as he grasped Harry's hand like an anchor. This wasn't the Draco Harry had known for the last month, the boy with the easy smirk and instant comebacks. This was the Draco that he had fought and hated for years before falling so deep in love that he knew he could never escape.
And he didn't want to.
The Draco here looked older, if not physically then in his eyes. He was more gaunt, thinner than how Harry had remembered him. He was paler and with more scars than the other Draco.
"You're awake." Draco's voice was hoarse, most likely from lack of sleep. As the blonde brought Harry's hand to his face, the green-eyed boy couldn't help but wonder if Draco had stayed in vigil the entire time he had been unconscious.
"..how long?" he asked, unable to think of anything else for the moment.
"You were gone for nearly two months." Draco explained, a hand sneaking to brush a strand of hair away from Harry's eyes. Sharp, grey eyes stared deep into his soul. "Granger found you two days ago, lying sprawled next to where Hogwarts used to be… we were so scared when you had disappeared… thought that you were dead." Pain crept into those eyes. "But it was even worse for a moment when we found you… we thought it was proof of your death. Your corpse."
"But I'm here." Harry murmured, trying to ease the pain away from those eyes that he loved so much.
"Yes." Draco managed a sad smile. "We found out you were only unconscious… and sent for the doctors." He leaned to brush a kiss above Harry's brow. "You're alive… you're okay." It sounded almost as if Draco were trying to convince himself of that.
Harry closed his eyes again, enjoying the warmth of Draco close to him. "You wouldn't believe what happened to me, Drake… I was somewhere else. In another universe." His eyes opened again, this time full of wonder as he stared at the person whom he loved so much. "My parents were alive there. Hogwarts was still standing… Voldemort was there as well, but he wasn't the threat that he is here. Everything was so beautiful, so wonderful…"
"It sounds like heaven…" Draco muttered, his distant as he stared at Harry.
"It wasn't." Harry said. He sat up in his bed, muscles protesting every step of the way. But he kept his gaze into those silver eyes. "I missed you."
If it were possible, Draco's eyes grew even sadder. "You came back from that place… for me?"
Harry bit his bottom lip, wondering if he should answer. But he settled for a nod, "I told you a long time ago… that I couldn't live without you."
Draco drew Harry into an awkward embrace. "But you shouldn't have said that… you shouldn't have come back…"
Harry grew worried. "What are you talking about?"
Draco breathed in the scent of Harry's hair, willing himself to calm down enough to let Harry understand. It wouldn't do to get hysterical when he knew that Harry wouldn't take the information well. He had to remain in control… so that he could help Harry understand.
"I mean… that I'm dying."
A thousand thanks to all my reviewers! *beams* I actually never expected this many people to review, but I'm extremely glad nevertheless. Also very glad that people seem to want to read the sequel. ^^;; That makes me very happy...
To Jennifer S, honeey, amythest, Silver Angel, frizzy, frabjous, sk8reagle, Fate's Child, Rarity88, Fiery Disposition, Jordan, bluevanilla, yumi-no-baka, Lyla Snape, Semmerie, and someonesgurl!! I'm sorry if I wasn't able to answer everyone specifically, but I figured that you might want to read more of the story than my comments. LOL. Thanks especially to those who reviewed more than once, who came back and pointed out specific things or mistakes that I made, asked questions, gave encouragement (or even threats! *laughs*), and helped me through this story. Even if they thought the comment wasn't constructive *winks at amythest*, it made me extremely happy to know that people took the time to review and come back again. Another special thanks to tdei for encouragement over AIM, and the person at email@example.com for the email.
I hope everyone enjoyed this story and will continue to enjoy the sequel. ^_^